Many things are important in life. Some are very important. Having healthy relationships with the right people in your life is one of the most important things in life. This is because for there to be meaning in life, relationships must be defined, cultivated and maintained. It is known that when God wants to bless us, He usually sends someone into our lives. Unfortunately Satan does the same when he wants to carry out his assignment against us. Hurts are very painful when they come through our close loved ones.
Real fulfilment also happens when we have healthy close relationships to share life with. There are various levels of closeness in relationships and each of them have their contribution that they make into our lives. When the Word says that we should comprehend with all saints what is the length, breath and height and to know the love of Christ which passes understanding etc. It sounds like we all have dimensions we can comprehend and it takes receiving the dimension that others receive to give us the full picture. The corporate expression of the Body of Christ is to show how each part plays a part for the whole to be healthy. Many things help define our roles in relationships but one thing that stands out in having healthy relationships is our thinking.
Relational thinking is the thinking process that covers the various dimensions that make for healthy relationships. I call it the 4 track thinking process. I learnt it by observing my wife’s sensitivity to other people.
The four dimensions are as follows:
1. What you want to do or say;
2. What the other person wants to do or say;
3. How what you want to do or say will affect what the other person wants to do or say;
4. What you will do or say having considered what the other person will be free to do having the liberty to choose their words and actions.
1. What you want to do or say; this is the only track that many have. Once
they judge that whatever they want to do or say is good in view of their intentions, the action or words are good enough. They think, is it true? Is it necessary to say or do from their personal perspective? So they have their principles and their decision is deemed right in their own eyes.
2. What the other person may want to do or say; this calls for a stretch in our thinking process. Given certain boundaries, we should be able to draw the lines around what the other person may freely do or say. This sounds like speculative thinking.
3. The effect our actions or words will have on the other person.
4. What we shall eventually do or say having gone through the process enumerated here.